Queen shrugs off health fears as she carries out two audiences – and receives a gift

The 95-year-old monarch appeared in high spirits as she took on two more royal duties from her home in Windsor. The Queen conducted virtual audiences, as she has been doing throughout the pandemic, with two foreign diplomats who headed to Buckingham Palace.

First, the monarch received Vishnu Dhanpaul, the new High Commissioner of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in London.

The sovereign also met virtually Dr Thomas Bisika, who has become the new High Commissioner in London for the Republic of Malawi.

During his audience, Dr Bisika presented the Queen the Letters of Recall of his predecessor and his own Letters of Commission sanctioning his new role.

But he also gave the Queen a painting of a natural landscape as a gift.

Both Malawi and Trinidad and Tobago used to recognise the Queen as their head of state.

The Caribbean country of Trinidad gained its independence from the UK in 1962 and became a republic in the following decade, in 1976.

Similarly, Malawi became an independent nation in 1964 and declared itself a republic ditching the Queen as its head of state two years later.

Both nations are still members of the Commonwealth.

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A similar choice has been made by Barbados, which in November became the world’s youngest republic and severing their remaining ties with the Crown 50 years after becoming an independent nation.

These two virtual audiences came the day after the Queen held her weekly phone call with the Prime Minister.

The Court Circular, which registers events carried out by senior royals, noted under the date March 2: “The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury) had an audience of The Queen via telephone this evening.”

While the content of their audiences is never disclosed, it is likely the monarch wanted to be updated by Boris Johnson on the ongoing war in Ukraine.


The Queen resumed her virtual audiences on March 1, less than two weeks after Buckingham Palace announced the monarch had caught Covid.

The monarch tested positive for the virus on February 20 and suffered from mild “cold-like symptoms”.

Despite the diagnosis, she never stopped carrying out light duties – including dealing with the daily Government’s red boxes.

On the same day her Covid diagnosis was announced, the monarch was well enough to sign off a statement congratulating the male and female curling teams on their triumph at the Winter Olympics.

On the following day, she sent another, more sombre message, following the devastating floods that hit Brazil in February.

Royal fans were plunged into fear on Tuesday and Thursday last week after the Queen cancelled her planned virtual audiences.

However, sources told the Daily Mail the monarch was “on the mend”, still only experiencing cold-like symptoms.

A major sign the monarch had won her battle against COVID-19 came over the weekend, when the Daily Mail reported the monarch had headed to Frogmore House on her Windsor estate to spend a day with some beloved family members.

Among them, the newspaper reported there were Princess Beatrice and her daughter Sienna Elizabeth.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and their three children were said to have also attended the cheerful gathering.

The Queen is understood to have received three doses of the vaccine against COVID-19.

In January last year, Buckingham Palace announced both the sovereign and her late husband Prince Philip had been inoculated with the first dose.

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Alice Scarsi

By Alice Scarsi

Alice Scarsi is a news reporter at She initially joined the company as a production journalist in 2017 after earning a master's degree in International Journalism at City, University of London. She moved to the editorial team in March 2018, where she writes about politics, royals and current affairs.

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